Every day there are instances where I find myself looking for my smart phone.
Then with a sense of panic, I try to trace back my last movements to look for my primary and indispensable tool for work and, well, any interaction that can be done virtually.
Being a strong advocate of inclusive digital transformation, each time I encounter a computer glitch or interruptions in internet connection, it’s like hitting an invisible wall and having an “oh no” moment.
We are at an age when our existence as humans have become dependent on technology.
Just look around and you can see how everything is a product of technological innovation.
The existential threat of the pandemic was overcome by lifesaving vaccines developed at an unprecedented pace by the most advanced health technologies.
Each product or service we use represents interlinked industries that use digital technologies in every level of their operations.
The COVID 19 pandemic pushed the world to abruptly shift to digital technologies in the cloud to stay connected and functional.
Evolving into a cloud-based global digital economy is an exciting prospect that presents a bright horizon of opportunities but like any innovation inspired to improve the human lifestyle, there are new risks that will need its own set of mitigating solutions.
More widespread than the COVID virus are the text scam messages we receive every day.
Everyone I know gets several text messages offering jobs, winning instant cash, and all sorts of gimmickry to fool you to click on the link in the text which diverts you to website that will ask you to disclose sensitive personal information that will eventually be used in cybercrime operations.
Some text scammers even know your name and have creatively crafted messages to entice you to give your personal data.
As convenor of consumer advocacy group CitizenWatch Philippines, we have been a strong advocate to require Subscriber Identity Mode (SIM) Registration Act which already has an approved Bicameral Committee Report and will hopefully be soon signed into law by President Marcos Jr.
This legislative initiative is a good model of coming up with a responsive policy that has broad support from its stakeholders which include the government regulators, the telco players, consumer groups, and the business sector.
When enforced, all SIM cards must be registered so that identity of each user can be traced and effectively strike out the shield of anonymity so cunningly used by criminals to prey on their victims.
Safeguarding the digital environment needs synergy between the telco networks, the consumers, and the government.
As telcos must secure their networks, user awareness of safe online behavior, their rights to data privacy, and constant vigilance especially when doing online transactions are key elements in fighting cybercrime.
Government must have a strong digital governance framework developed thru thorough multi-stakeholder consultations.
The education sector plays a foundational role in training a cyber-ready workforce that integrates the right skills and instills cybersecurity consciousness as part of the professional work ethic.
Achieving a balance between tech savviness and good values should be the norm in both the physical and virtual worlds.
As we commit to a more digital way of life, the risk of disrupted telecommunications and internet connection becomes a serious risk at the level of utility services.
We’ve all experienced losing our phones, computer crashes, and how these temporary interruptions to internet connections can stop whatever we are doing.
Imagine that happening to Metro-Manila and the adjacent areas which incidentally are the most productive regions of the country.
A blackout in telco and internet access is a scary possibility. This elevates cybersecurity as a matter of national security.
Cyberattacks causing disruptions at a nationwide scale is a risk that governments are now taking very seriously.
Several news articles have featured cases of cyber espionage, and other illicit digital activities, such as hacking into government websites to steal sensitive data and even deny access, are well documented.
In this geopolitical context and in celebrating Cybersecurity Month, the Stratbase ADR Institute, in partnership with the US Embassy in the Philippines, will be hosting a hybrid event with the theme “Establishing a Strong and Credible Cyber Defense Posture in the Philippines” on October 25 where thought leaders from government, the private sector, and civil society groups will exchange insights on strategies to effectively respond to cyberattacks.
A safe and trusted digital environment is a critical component for sustainable economic recovery and is a global concern in this emerging digital economic system.
Technological innovators will continue to develop a digitally empowered world.
All humans must learn to co-exist in the real and digital space where there are unlimited opportunities for everyone to prosper.